All these years people were forced to consider butter, steak, and pork as unhealthy food. Standard diet recommendations focused more on reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids (SFA) over the past 40 years. Saturated fat was known to clog arteries, cause obesity, and many health issues. But the latest research tells a different story; it encourages to bring butter and bacon back to the diet, as they are healthy too.
Saturated fat was believed to increase LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol, and eating a lot of it increased the risk of heart diseases. This hypothesis was backed by certain observational studies where a diet rich in saturated fat was linked to cardiovascular diseases. However, most recent research suggested that role of saturated fat on health is not clear. Saturated fat as an independent factor can not alter a person’s cardiac health.
Saturated fat is the building block and the energy source of every organism. They are present in both plant and animal-based food. It is present in red meat, tropical oils, nuts, and dairy products.
Chemically saturated fats don’t have any double bonds and are saturated with hydrogen molecules attached to carbon molecules. Saturated fats are present in solid form at room temperature.
A 2020 study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicated that there are no beneficial effects of reducing saturated fat intake on heart diseases or mortality. It also says their content in any nutrient group cannot predict the health effects of foods without considering the overall macronutrient distribution. Fat dairy and unprocessed meat are foods rich in saturated fats and have a complex matrix that is not associated with any risk of heart diseases.
The researchers agree that rather than focusing on a single nutrient, we should consider overall diet quality. The elimination of processed foods, including simple carbohydrates, would benefit cardiovascular disease (CVD) and overall health.
The latest study encourages the consumption of meat and dairy foods as a part of a healthy diet. Especially in older adults, these foods provide proteins and nutrients such as essential fatty acids needed for healthy aging.
The main problem lies in focussing on one macronutrient. For example, you can not just consume fats or carbs. Your food is a mixture of various macros and micro-nutrients. In fact, focusing on one nutrient and trying to replace it might become more hazardous.
Avoid eating these unhealthy foods like fried products, junk food, added sugar, and processed meat. Your lifestyle modifications can bring a more significant positive impact on heart health. Also, your overall diet matters; hence eat quality food.
With all the research available, we can say an average healthy person need not worry about saturated fats. But, if you have any underlying medical condition like cholesterol problems, then you should modify your diet.
There are many unhealthy foods and unhealthy habits that need to be addressed. When it comes to saturated fat, there were a lot of controversies, but the latest evidence considers it a safe addition to your diet.
It is time to reconsider our long-standing bias against saturated fat. Presently we can say saturated fat is healthy and can be a part of your daily diet. Slowly researchers are accepting saturated fat benefits and talking more about it.
Though saturated fat is healthy, but moderation is the key to reap the health benefits of any nutrients. Avoid processed and junk food, to stay healthy and active. Improve your food quality, overall diet, and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Rashmi Byakodi is a health and wellness writer who aims to spread awareness about health through her words. With her medical background and a passion for writing, she has been creating health content on various platforms. Dr. Rashmi believes that with the right knowledge and a healthy lifestyle, we can combat many health issues, and she strives to spread the same through her blog posts.
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